Thursday, November 10, 2011

(Almost) Veterans Day

Veterans Day. I have mixed emotions about it. On the one hand, I pity the poor souls whom we see fighting other people's silly and dirty wars in the name of getting a free ride to a college eduction—hoping they'll never have to see the battlefield (see ROTC). Unfortunately, the past decade has shown us that some of the hoping is not always well-founded. I won't be surprised if some of you vehemently bash my viewpoint. That's OK.

On the other hand, after traveling just for a few days in the NE and soaking up a bit more of America's (early) history, I can see where the desire to join and fight for freedom is coming from. Alas, this ain't no longer the 18th century. There was something noble about standing up for oneself, opposing the English (and the Indians and the French), and working toward something one could hope would be better. And it was, until it was once again fouled by people too powerful and too corrupt to lead the wars themselves. So, we send the young ones out, bright-eyed and not having a freaking clue what they are getting into. Sad indeed.

Anyhow, when I just walked from DFW's terminal C to terminal D via the sky-bridge connecting the two, I saw the bunting, and the balloons, and the placards. And having just come from the history-steeped north-east I had to think a little more about the sacrifices (ill-advised and ill-guided IMHO) that so many young women and men are facing, and still I thought I might as well salute them, not necessarily in approval of their mission but as young people who think that they are doing the right thing.
The sky-bridge between terminals C and D at DFW
I know there are those who will jump up and down, proclaiming that if it weren't for these enlisted folks I wouldn't be able to do what I am doing. Well, keep jumping. I'm a 55-year-old draft dodger and believe that the world is a better place because of it. And so we all have our opinions.

My last day in the north-east took me to one of the earliest (European) settlements in this hemisphere: Gloucester, going back as far as 1623. It was an overcast day that finally turned into a rainy one, but in a way it didn't take away from the picturesque setting of this tiny little harbor city on the south side of Cape Ann. The back-roads drive from Portsmouth to the cape, the beach towns closed for winter, the mansions in the Hamptons, and the vastness of the Atlantic stretching to the east only added to this feeling of serenity and the immediacy of history. Please click on the video to get a little closer.

Before heading for Boston Logan and my flight back to the civilized part of the universe, the Wild West, I had to pop into one more of the ubiquitous brewpubs that seem to be an East Coast fixture: This time it was Cape Ann Brewing Company, where I treated myself to a healthy helping of mussels in a savory mustard seed / wine sauce. Needless to say that the Fisherman's IPA was non-plussed by the absolutely gorgeous Dead Eye Double IPA. Lovely, lovely, lovely—and it was total chicken shit that they were going to charge me an extra few dollars to bring in my own growler (remember Opa-Opa's?) instead of one of theirs. And just like in last night's Portsmouth Brewery the waitstaff was inattentive and difficult to locate, so no growler and no tip, either.
Neither pretty pictures ... (Portsmouth Brewing)

... nor pretty tap handles earn tips—only good servers do (Cape Ann Brewing)
And so my trip to the New England states is coming to an end, with just a quick hop left to Lubbock. I'm looking forward to almost two weeks at home, before Carl and I go off on a boys' bike-riding and pub-crawlin'  trip to Albuquerque. Time to tackle the house and its chores, time to work off some of the excess poundage accumulated in all these brewpubs and taprooms, time to be with friends. I'm looking forward to it all.


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